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Film Review: Righting Wrongs (1986) by Corey Yuen

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Film Review: Righting Wrongs (1986) by Corey Yuen

“It’s money that counts, not guts”

Co-produced by Corey Yuen and Yuen Biao, with the two of them also function as action director, and the first being credited as the director and the second as the protagonist, “Righting Wrongs” is considered one of the best movies of the latter and has now reached the status of cult for a number of reasons.

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In that fashion, some trivia regarding the production are definitely interesting to mention. According to Rothrock, Golden Harvest originally signed her to play the villain opposite of Jackie Chan in Armour of God, but when production halted due to Chan’s near-fatal filming accident, the studio reassigned Rothrock to Righting Wrongs with Biao. While practicing her moves for the film, she injured her right ACL; rather than take time off to undergo surgery, she proceeded to shoot her scenes using her left leg for her kicks. Filming lasted five-and-a-half month, during which Biao sustained a back injury while filming the scene where his character jumped off the second story of a house, despite landing feet-first on some padding dressed up as grass

When the studio needed another female martial artist for the film, Rothrock recommended Karen Sheperd. Upon arriving in Hong Kong, Sheperd demanded that her character should not die, as it would ruin her reputation. In addition, she refused to kill a boy, as written on the screenplay. After Rothrock and Sheperd’s fight scene was completed, the crew filmed a body double doing the scenes the latter refused to do, including her character’s death.

The film’s original ending was met with a negative reception during its midnight screening in Hong Kong; because of this, Rothrock stopped filming China O’Brien and flew from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to reshoot the ending for the Mandarin and international versions. By the end, there were three different edits and four different endings, all of which are included in the Blu-Ray 88 films released in 2022.

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Jason Ha Ling-ching is a dedicated, by the book prosecutor who has tried to maintain patience and tolerance under the somewhat flimsy laws of the court and what is happening outside of it, in regards to how decisions are made. However, when his mentor is publicly gunned down in New Zealand, in a rather ominous and symbolic scene including a book of justice getting filled with bullet holes, and the key witness of Ha’s latest case and his entire family is wiped out overnight, Ha can no longer go by the book and decides to take justice in his own hands. However, when he succeeds in killing the first of the two he considers perpetrators, the Hong Kong Police Department sets mad dog Senior Inspector Cindy Si on his heels. With Jason being accused of one more murder he did not commit, it falls on Sammy Yu Chi-Man, a young man who was witness to the actual events to exonerate him, while it is soon revealed that someone named Crown is the mastermind behind all the crimes.

As usual in the HK martial arts movies of the 80s, the script does not make that much sense, in distinct b-movie fashion, although in this case, some comments about how justice is implemented, corruption and the whole concept of vigilantism add a level of depth to the narrative. However, the way a number of the good guys are murdered, the punishment the police receive and the overall brutality that characterizes the story induce the narrative with a rather intense sense of drama that works quite well here. Add to that the misunderstandings that bring Jason and Cindy against each other, including a rather memorable fight sequence, and you have a movie that truly stands out from the plethora of similar films due to its intricacy.

The same actually applies to the acting, with Yuen Biao and Louis Fan as Sammy being quite good, particularly in the dramatic scenes, Roy Chiao as Magistrate Judge emitting authority from every move and gesture and Melvin Wong being a rather competent villain. On the other hand, the comedy elements are definitely mishandled, with the film probably being much better without them.

Of course, considering the nature of the film, the aspect that will define its quality is definitely the action scenes, and it is easy to say that the combined efforts of Yuen and Biao in the direction and the performance of the stuntmen and the actors is truly top notch. The scene with the fight between the two protagonists, the one where Biao is fighting Peter Cunnigham the Black Assassin, the final one and the one where Cynthia Rothrock is fighting Karen Sheperd are truly top notch, and among the most memorable in the whole genre. In that regard, the combination of the intricacy of movement, the speed, and the punishment all involved receive is truly astonishing. Add to that some non-martial arts murders, which are quite dramatic in their presentation, and you have an overall outstanding action aspect.

“Righting Wrongs” is an excellent martial arts film that both thrives on its action and includes enough drama and context to elevate it much above the standards of the category.

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Humane (2024) – Review | Dystopian Family Thriller | Heaven of Horror

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Humane (2024) – Review | Dystopian Family Thriller | Heaven of Horror

How to reduce the population in a humane way

In Humane, which takes place in one single afternoon, but based on events that have happened over decades, a family is forced to deal with an ecological collapse. Basically, we need to reduce Earth’s population now, so the question becomes; How can we do that as a society in a humane way?

Hot tip: You need to pay attention to everything being said in the background during the opening credits!

Of course, there isn’t anything humane about having to eliminate a large percentage of the population. And yet, money can help, so a new euthanasia program has been made. Basically, you can volunteer to be “put down!

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Your family will be by your side as you say goodbye to them and they will also get a pretty penny for your sacrifice. Clearly, this scheme leads to mostly poor people and immigrants signing up, as they can then help their children and grandchildren to a better life.

That’s why it’s such a shock when a recently retired newsman – who has plenty of wealth to last a few lifetimes – invites his four grown children to dinner to announce that he has enlisted for the euthanasia program.

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Of course, nothing is as simple as described in the commercials constantly playing on TV to enlist volunteers. So, when the father’s plan goes wrong, full-blown chaos erupts among the four siblings, and they end up fighting each other to survive.

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There’s Still Tomorrow (2023) – Movie Review

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There’s Still Tomorrow (2023) – Movie Review

There’s Still Tomorrow, 2023.

Directed by Paola Cortellesi.
Starring Paola Cortellesi, Valerio Mastandrea, Romana Maggiora Vergano, Emanuela Fanelli, Giorgio Colangeli, and Vinicio Marchioni.

SYNOPSIS:

Trying to escape from the patriarchy in the Italian post-war society, Delia plots an act of rebellion against her violent husband.

Italian Cinema has had its share of triumphs over the years with the likes of Federico Fellini and Roberto Rossellini helping to define European Cinema of the mid 1900s. There’s Still Tomorrow from Star and Director Paola Cortellesi, proves that there is still plenty of life left in Italian Cinema. It has earned rave reviews and proven to be the most successful film of 2023 in Italy and the ninth highest-grossing film of all time there.

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Set in Rome in 1946, it follows Delia (Cortellisi), caught in a loveless marriage, struggling to put food on the table. Delia cares for their three young children and is also expected to tend to her bedridden father-in-law.  The Rome we follow is far from the more glamorous one we tend to see now, more like something in Rome Open City, with the effects of the war apparent, with a sizable US military presence still in place.

It has rightly earned plaudits and the way Cortellisi has balanced the period elements with neorealism is worth singling out. On paper this shouldn’t work, feeling often like a drama lifted straight from the era but also with a striking, contemporary edge to it, buoyed by some of the musical choices. The likes of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Outkast helping to lend it a ferocious energy and give it a sense of purpose. As far as debuts go this is incredibly ambitious but it never succumbs to striving for too much, miraculously finding balance throughout.

While the action is kept largely to Delia and her family it is gripping with plenty of impressive traits from our first-time director from the use of music and dance to slow motion. Davide Leone’s cinematography is striking and perfectly captures the downbeat nature of post-war Rome.

There’s Still Tomorrow is a wonderful blend of 1940s Italian Cinema and melodrama with a distinctly modern edge to it, landing this awkward balance for the most part. It will be intriguing to see whether international audiences take to it quite as strongly but as Italian as it feels, there is a global appeal to it, of a woman trying to escape a horrendous situation and reclaim her life. It is a very impressive debut and we can only hope Paola Cortellisi directs more in future. It is an unpredictable love letter to Italian cinema and this particular era in Italian society that wears its heart on its sleeve and is hard not to be enamoured with.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★

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Movie Review: Prepare to get hot and bothered with stylish, synthy tennis drama 'Challengers'

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Movie Review: Prepare to get hot and bothered with stylish, synthy tennis drama 'Challengers'

“Challengers” is a bit of a tease. That’s what makes it fun.

There is plenty of skin, sweat, close-ups of muscly thighs and smoldering looks of lust and hate in this deliriously over-the-top psychodrama. But get that image of Josh O’Connor, Zendaya and Mike Faist sitting together on the bed out of your mind. Most of this action takes place on the tennis court.

It’s still a sexy tennis movie about friendship, love, competition and sport set to a synth-y score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross — it just might not contain exactly what you think it does. But remember, Luca Guadagnino is the one who filmed Timothée Chalamet with that peach, perhaps more memorable than any actual sex scene from the past decade. Manage expectations, but also trust.

And like “Call Me By Your Name” did for Chalamet, “Challengers” is one of those rare original big-screen delights that firmly announces the arrival of a new generation of movie stars. Zendaya and Faist already had a bit of a leg up. She has played significant supporting roles in some of the biggest movies of the past few years, from “Spider-Man” to “Dune,” and he had had his big cinematic breakthrough as Riff in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” But it’s O’Connor who really comes out on top, effectively shedding any lingering image of him as a whiny, dweeby Prince Charles in seasons three and four of “The Crown.” In “Challengers,” his Patrick Zweig is the cocky, flirty, slightly mean, slightly dirty and slightly broken bad boyfriend of our fictional dreams.

Written by playwright Justin Kuritzkes (who is married to “Past Lives” filmmaker Celine Song) “Challengers” is a prickly treat, about fractured relationships, egos, infidelity and ambition. Set during a qualifying match at the New Rochelle Tennis Club, outside New York City, the intricately woven story reveals itself through flashbacks that build to a crescendo in the present-day match.

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O’Connor’s Patrick and Faist’s Art are old boarding school roommates turned tennis teammates. It’s a relationship that’s at turns brotherly, erotic and competitive. Whatever it is, they are definitely too close and not remotely prepared for Zendaya’s Tashi Duncan to enter the mix.

Tashi, in high school, is well on her way to becoming the next big tennis superstar. Art and Patrick watch her play, mouths agape at her technical form and physical beauty. Later, they both ask for her number, leading to a revealing night in a grungy hotel room. She promises her number to the one who wins the singles match the next day. Tashi just wants to see some good tennis, she says, but she also knows how to motivate and manipulate.

This image released by Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures shows Zendaya in a scene from “Challengers.” Credit: AP/Niko Tavernise

Because of the fractured timeline, we know that Tashi in the present day does not play tennis anymore. She was injured at some point and never recovered, unlike her husband, Art, who is now one of the most famous players in the world. The two of them are wildly wealthy, living in a ritzy hotel and fronting Aston Martin ad campaigns. At night, Tashi uses Augustinus Bader cream to moisturize her legs. Guadagnino, who likes to wink at and luxuriate in wealth signifiers, enlisted JW Anderson designer Jonathan Anderson to do the costumes, which will surely populate summer style inspiration boards the way his “A Bigger Splash” and “Call Me By Your Name” have in the past.

But while they are technically at the top, Art is also on a losing streak, so Tashi sends him to a low-stakes tournament where he can get his confidence back. That’s where they encounter Patrick, who has not been so fortunate over the years and who has fallen out with his old friends. Of course, it’s all building to Patrick and Art playing one another in the final match, a part of which is so wildly and comically drawn out that you can almost envision the “Saturday Night Live” spoof.

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“Challengers” is a drama, but a funny and self-aware one. It doesn’t take itself very seriously and has a lot of fun with its characters, all three of which are anti-heroes in a way. You might have a favorite, but you’re probably not rooting for anyone exactly — just glued to the screen to see how it all plays out on and off the court.

“Challengers,” an MGM release in theaters Friday, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association for “language throughout, some sexual content and graphic nudity.” Running time: 131 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.

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